Marketplace KPI Dashboard

By Angela, July 13, 2015

A few months ago, I wrote about the questions that we typically ask when evaluating a marketplace opportunity.

Now, inspired by our friend Christoph Janz at Point Nine Capital who created a KPI dashboard for early-stage SaaS, we have put together a KPI template for marketplaces.

We recognize that every marketplace is different, but each one is also similar at its core: each marketplace has a seller (supply) and buyer (demand) side, and acts as an intermediary to bring them together.

We hope that our version of a Marketplace KPI dashboard helps founders manage their business and pre-empt those due diligence questions in a fundraise.  Below are some screenshots of the template which you can also access via the Google doc here (make a copy of it and then you can edit away).

Marketplace KPI Screen Shot

Screen shot of Marketplace KPI Google Spreadsheet

There are plenty of notes within the dashboard itself but here’s a high level overview. The dashboard is separated into three dimensions to measure the efficacy of your business:  1)  overall marketplace metrics; 2) seller/supplier metrics; and 3) buyer metrics.

Overall Marketplace Metrics

Gross merchandize volume (GMV) is the total sales dollar value for goods sold or services purchased through the marketplace over a certain time.  Given that GMV is one of the most important marketplace KPIs, founders should track its growth rate on a monthly and yearly basis, and understand its makeup by customer acquisition channel.  With GMV and the total number of transactions, we can compute the average order value (AOV) since:

          GMV = # of Transactions * AOV

Revenue is the income that the company receives from facilitating connections in the marketplace. It comes in the form of transaction fees, listing fees, and/or the offering of premium seller/supplier services.  With revenue and GMV, we can calculate take rate via:

          Revenue = GMV * Take Rate

In addition to take rate, we can evaluate business efficacy by calculating the total customer acquisition cost (CAC) of buyers and sellers/suppliers as a percentage of revenue.

Seller/Supplier Metrics

Start with general seller/supplier and growth KPIs, for example:

  • Number of sellers/suppliers
  • Sellers/suppliers growth rate
  • Number of listings (n.b. in a services marketplace, this is not applicable so perhaps consider the number of active suppliers at a specific time instead).
  • Listings growth rate
  • Average listing price
  • CAC

Engagement KPIs are most important to the seller/supplier side so make sure you track these at the very least – examples:

  • Cohort analysis: percentage of sellers/suppliers still active 1 month and/or 1 year after signing up
  • GMV retention: average percentage of Month 1 GMV generated by sellers/suppliers in Month 12
  • Concentration: percentage of revenue generated by the top 20% sellers/suppliers
  • Net promoter score (NPS)

Buyer Metrics

Similar to seller/supplier metrics, we can categorize these into general and engagement.

General KPIs – examples:

  • Number of buyers
  • Buyer growth rate
  • Average dollar amount purchased per buyer
  • Average number of orders per buyer
  • Average order growth per buyer
  • CAC

Engagement KPIs on the buyer side – examples:

  • Repeat buyer contribution: percentage of buyers who have purchased more than once; and percentage of GMV generated from buyers in previous months
  • GMV retention: average percentage of Month 1 GMV generated by buyers in Month 12
  • Concentration: percentage of revenue generated by top 20% buyers
  • Cross pollination (if applicable): percentage of buyers whose second purchase is in a different category
  • NPS

Closing Notes

Any thoughts or questions on the dashboard? Please comment below, as we’re sure there are many others that will benefit from the discussion. We’d also love any feedback on other important KPIs to add, or ones to remove. We’re looking forward to iterating!

  • sam.fankuchen

    Great post, Angela! We’ve also been tracking Producer and Consumer viral coefficient (# organic new user referrals per user), inventory quality (completed transaction star rating distribution, or similar), and TAM penetration for Producers and Consumers.

  • This is fantastic!

    A few others things we measured (both Looker & RJMetrics were helpful in helping us monitor these):

    – Time to first/second/nth purchase/sale (for buyers) & sale (for sellers) by cohort.
    – Buyer/Seller Activation % (users who signup, and make their way down the funnel from 0 to > 0)
    – Buyer/Seller overlap, when & where applicable

  • Abraham Thomas

    Thanks for the post! These metrics do a great job of measuring the size and growth rate of a marketplace. But there are number of subtler metrics that I think do a better job of measuring the *health* of a marketplace. As a founder, you should be more concerned about the latter, since it’s what will drive the former.

    Fulfilment: What percentage of buyer searches end up in purchases? Are buyers finding the relevant inventory? Do buyers have a reasonable expectation that they will be able to buy what they need?

    Distribution width: What percentage of items listed end up being purchased? Are there a few dominant products and a long tail of zeros? Or is there a wide spectrum of saleable inventory? Do new sellers have a reasonable expectation that they will make sales?

    Fragmentation: Is the market dominated by a few prominent buyers and sellers?

    Repeat usage: What percentage of buyers come back month after month? What’s the (effective) churn rate? Do buyers up-sell or cross-sell? Can we estimate the LTV? How do cohort numbers evolve over time?

    Network effect: Is there some metric that captures a network effect that’s taking place? (This will be different from domain to domain. For example, Uber’s network effect is: more drivers -> shorter pickup times -> more customers and less driver downtime -> lower prices and more drivers).

    These health metrics may be harder to measure, but they’re more predictive and they’re more actionable.

  • bwertz

    Agreed that “Time to” metric is very important as it is an early indicator of buyer / seller retention

  • bwertz

    Good points! I think some of those are covered in the proposed template (fragmentation & repeat usage) but otherwise great additions (especially the last one)

  • atkingyens

    Thanks for the feedback – love that you’re data-driven and hoping that all founders think the same way 🙂

  • Gary Ziegler

    Could these metrics be used for a digital wallet where buyers (consumers) use their mobile device to buy products from local (bricks and mortar) retailers? Or is this only for online marketplaces like Etsy for example?

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  • bwertz

    You can certainly apply some of those metrics to your situation

  • jnic

    Can you explain the take rate? Can’t seem to find a clear definition re: marketplace! Great article!

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  • Santiago

    Great read! Im also reading about lean analytics and one of the hardest things to know is how do I know what’s a normal or ideal value for the metrics I’m tracking?

    Do you have any monthly bottom lines for the marketplace metrics?

    Thank you

  • Jennifer Rosenblatt

    Thanks for this great resource! I already track many of these numbers. My question is: Should the numbers be cumulative as I enter them or just make different columns for different periods (e.g. Q1, Q2)? Thanks!

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  • Isaac John Wesley ?

    Take rate is the % of commission you charge. Reflects to revenues.

  • Ivo Vasilev

    This is a fantastic post @bwertz:disqus and a great comment by @disqus_bPUhJewpR8:disqus . I am founder who is building a marketplace and I am very much in agreement with focusing on the health of the marketplace first and foremost.

    Therefore I have a few questions related to Abraham’s comment – especially repeat usage and distribution width (we call it density), since those two in my opinion are important drivers for achieving network effects as mentioned, hence long term health.

    On the demand side:
    1) Healthy Churn Rate – Do you guys have a benchmark metric on what is healthy churn rate and what in your opinion it shouldn’t go higher than over time? We think churn rate is very revealing of health showing that users find value within that marketplace consistently. “Over time” also as in the early days of the marketplace they might find less value and churn more (e.g. uber’s high pickup time when opening a new city), yet over time the churn rate decreases. So do you happen to have a benchmark number?

    2) Resurrected Users – Another metric we started looking at, which is very much linked to the above is “resurrected users” – those who haven’t been active for previous X period, yet reactivate. We also see that very representative of health as the marketplace essentially starts reaching good enough density and coverage of consumer interests, so they reactivate and start using it. Do you have any insight on that front?

    On the supply side:
    3) Supplier Activation Threshold – Related to density/distribution width do you think founders should focus on having a certain activation threshold for new suppliers, so it proves that both the supplier gets value of being in the marketplace and the users benefit of having another supplier, hence network effects and higher density and lower distribution width. E.g. we should ensure a new seller must make X sales so they “activate” and add value to the network/marketplace, rather than be more of noise and decrease value.

    4) Supply-leveraged user acquisition – Also related to the above do you think at the early days we should (an can) focus on supply-leveraged user acquisition, meaning that high % of new users are attracted via the suppliers e.g. leveraging a restaurant in delivery hero, deliveroo, open table, etc. to attract new users and ensuring those restaurants themselves promote the service as stand alone product of theirs. Do you thing measuring and focusing on high percentage of new users coming from this rather than the promotion of the marketplace itself can be a good way to ensure density/low distribution width and network effects?

    Hope the above makes sense, we are in the early days but think about those things A LOT. Thank you in advance

  • Agora for Businesses

    Angela and Boris, This, along with your blog on questions you ask marketplace startups, is very valuable. Thanks for sharing. One question – do you also invest in services marketplaces (e.g. if Thumbtack were starting off now and came to you)? If so, would you change any of this if at all (e.g. if the transaction payments are difficult to bring online but there are other ways to monetize)?

  • bwertz

    Yes, we do (in fact, we unfortunately passed on Thumbtack :-(..) Agree with you that your business model might be different for a services marketplace, check out our guide on marketplaces in wich we dedicate a whole section to business models:

  • Agora for Businesses

    Thanks Boris! Reading your guide now! – Ashmi for Agora (

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  • Guilherme Mendes

    Can you help me to understand well GMV Retention? I have an early stage P2P managed marketplace for buying/selling cars. Something near to to use the example from the deck. How can I think about retention in a p2p business with one time transactions?

  • bwertz

    If it is truly a one-time transaction there is no GMV retention – so you have to be profitable on the first transaction (gross margin per transaction > buyer CAC).

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